Helleborus niger ( Christmas Rose )

These are long-lived, evergreen plants with basal clumps of long stalked leaves, divided fanwise into leaflets. Flowers which appear in December and persist until April, are cream colored with many stamens and dangle above upper foliage. If planted in warmer climates, make sure ample water is available and mulch well to keep roots cool. Best grown in cooler areas. Both flower and foliage nice in arrangements.

Hosta ( June Hosta )

This variegated sport of H. ‘Halcyon’ has heart-shaped, smooth, gray-blue leaves, variegated yellow and yellow-green. Bears racemes of lavender-gray flowers in summer. Hardy perennials for shaded gardens with large, bold leaves often marked with contrasting colors. Leaves range in shape from round to lance-shaped, and colors can be yellow to green to blue, often with white, yellow or green marginal markings. Lavender or white flowers grow on stalks in early summer. Wonderful contrast when planted with small-leaved plants, adding texture to the landscape. Slugs and snails love hostas!

Hamamelis x intermedia ( Witch Hazel )

In midwinter, after foliage has been shed, fragrant yellow, red or orange flowers with crimped petals appear. A welcome bright spot and must-have for the winter garden. Older plants are really horizontal in form and open like a small tree. Favorite cultivars that are pretty common are ‘Diane’ which has red flowers, ‘Orange or Copper Beauty’ (also sold as ‘Jelena’) yellow flowers and ‘Magic Fire’ with orange flowers.

by Hans van Horssen

Kniphofia  ( Red-hot Poker )

Kniphofia ( Red-hot Poker )

Distinctive border perennial with Leaves are narrow, long, and grasslike. This is a sturdy, but graceful plant with few problems and architectural character. Varieties available in both dwarf and larger forms. Primary bloom season is summer. Remove spent flower spikes and old leaves in fall. Good companion plant for daylilies.

Rhododendron ( Minuet Knap Hill Azalea )

Upright, hardy, deciduous shrub with elliptic to oblong, 2 to 6 inch long leaves. Single, trumpet-shaped, pink, white, and yellow flowers, 2 to 3 inches wide. Flowers are borne in huge, showy trusses of 18 to 30 blooms per cluster. Bloom time is from mid to late spring. The deciduous hybrid azalea, like it’s native counterpart, is known for excellent fall color and unsurpassed spring flowers. The deciduous azalea is usually less picky about soil conditions, though it too prefers well-drained and acid conditions. The Knap Hill and Exbury azaleas are English hybrids resulting from crosses between R. molle, R. calendulaceum, R. arborescens, and R. occidentale. Though azaleas have a potentially large list of possible pest and disease problems, they are usually trouble-free if planted correctly in proper cultural conditions.

Sempervivum tectorum  ( Royanum Hens and Chicks )

Sempervivum tectorum ( Royanum Hens and Chicks )

Evergreen succulent with a mat forming growth habit, that bears rosettes of pointed, thick leaves, many times with bristly margins, or covered with a web of white hair. Royanum has yellowish-green, red-tipped leaves. Star-shaped, reddish-purple flowers are held in flat cymes on the terminal ends of hairy, upright stems. The rosettes die after flowering but are replaced by new rosettes on lateral runners. An old time favorite used in concrete planters on either side of the front entry. Great in window boxes or niches.

Ruta graveolens ( Jackman’s Blue Common Rue )

Rue is commonly grown for its aromatic blue-green foliage and small, fringed, yellow blooms . It is important that plant has ample moisture and well-drained soil the first year. After that, the plant is fairly drought tolerant. Excellent for use in rock gardens and borders. Start seeds in flats and then transplant outside. If soil is very acidic, be sure to work in plenty of lime. ‘Jackman’s Blue’ is compact, to 24″ tall. Foliage is very glaucous.

Ruta graveolens ( Variegata Common Rue )

Rue is commonly grown for its aromatic blue-green foliage and small, fringed, yellow blooms . It is important that plant has ample moisture and well-drained soil the first year. After that, the plant is fairly drought tolerant. Excellent for use in rock gardens and borders. Start seeds in flats and then transplant outside. If soil is very acidic, be sure to work in plenty of lime. The foliage of ‘Variegata’ is white to white-splashed.